Education  Kenya Project #13015

Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!

by Kenya Connect (KC)
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Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
This Chromebook is cool!
This Chromebook is cool!

Imagine you're a fourth grade teacher who is supposed to teach a unit on digital literacy, but you have no computers. Do you have students just look at pictures in their textbook and expect them to understand?

Thanks to a Ford Motor Company Gratitude Grant, support from Level Up Village, and donations from DONORS LIKE YOU, we have purchased chromebooks that we are bringing to our partner schools.  Students are delighted to open up the chromebook and to see the screen come to life.  Using the keyboard, they begin to learn how a computer works and the many functions it provides.  Kids like playing games and our staff have educational activities for them to do on the computer while they begin to navigate the device.  Once they have begun to master the basic acitivities, many of the students participate in Level Up Village classes like Global Water Scientist.  Through this class, they learn about water cycles, how filtration systems work, and the importance of clean water. They create video letters to share with a partner in the U.S. and they watch their friends' videos.  It's a fun way to learn and it connects them with the wider world.

"I like seeing my partner's video.  I noticed that he doesn't  wear uniforms in school like me, but he has a brother like I do." says Kyalo

Recently our Board of Trustees and Staff engaged in Digital Dreaming Sessions.  We discussed ways to bridge the digital divide through providing our rural learners with access to computers, basic computing classes and upper level STEM classes. Once our new building is completed, we will be creating an EdTech Lab in our Learning Resouce Center and a Maker Space in our new LRC Annex.  We will be holding robotics, coding, animation and graphic design classes while helping students and community members learn how computers can help with businesses, agriculture, and the arts.

Monicah, our Technology Program Assistant, loves seeing how excited the students become when using the computer. "It brings me joy to see the students light up when they learn how to make a function happen."

Along with bringing chromebooks to students at their school, we still have students visiting our solar-powered Learning Resource Center for a variety of computer classes including computer basics and STEM classes with Level Up Village.

Bridging the Digital Divide would not be possible without you.  Your support means that we can provide computers to students in rural community. Teachers are pleased too since it gives them another tool for teaching.  Thank you for enriching and empowering our students and teachers through your donation!

New Chromebooks!
New Chromebooks!
Computer Learning at the LRC
Computer Learning at the LRC
Global Water Class with LUV
Global Water Class with LUV
Teachers are Digital Learners Too!
Teachers are Digital Learners Too!
Monicah guides students at the LRC
Monicah guides students at the LRC
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Teachers are Learners Too!
Teachers are Learners Too!

Do you remember your favorite teacher? Did she make learning fun and help you understand difficult concepts? Did he create a classroom environment with engaged students working to learn together?

At the heart of all education is a dedicated walimu, teacher. In Kenya, most classrooms are overcrowded, teachers lack even the most basic school supplies and are not provided with guidance and support to make their classrooms student-centered. The push to "cover the syllabus" whether students understand the content or not has been the guiding force. However, that is changing, especially in Wamunyu.

Since 2012, we have been working to provide teacher professional development workshops, and in 2018, we created "Professional Learning Communities" (PLCs) to help teachers learn from one another. As a result, when the new Kenyan competency based curriculum was introduced in 2019, many of our teachers were already using lessons that incorporated creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and self-learning. Basic techniques like "turn and talk" were introduced, along with brain breaks and movement as ways to create a dynamic lesson. 

This year, we are partnering with two groups to help us expand our work with teachers. We are piloting the "Teach 2030" program created by the UK based Commonwealth Education Trust with teachers in PLC groups at our four empowered schools. Accessing the program on a smartphone, these teachers are learning strategies to create a student-centered classroom and how to deploy techniques to help students learn together. The classes are "bite-sized" so that teachers can learn in a manageable way. Working with a partner encourages them to discuss concepts and how to integrate them in the classroom. After they have completed a unit, they receive a certificate.

Secondary School teachers are equally challenged, especially in teaching science, mathematics, and technology. Imagine teaching a chemistry class without beakers or chemicals and only relying on a textbook. In a recent analysis of the KCSE scores, we saw that students are struggling in the sciences and maths. As a result, we have engaged in a partnership with another NGO working in rural Kenya, SeaVuria. SeaVuria, dedicated to strengthening STEM education in the Taita-Taveta region of Kenya, reached out to us to create a program designed around the concept of "sense making" in the classroom for our teachers in Wamunyu and the Kyaithani cluster as well as teachers in Taita-Taveta. Executive Director Mary Margaret Welch, who is also the program manager for K-12 STEM education for Seattle public schools, has designed a program that focuses on creating an infrastructure of sustained supports for teachers to learn, enact, and reflect. The cycle is an iterative one in which student voice and input is considered. Teachers will take their new learnings into the classroom where they will practice the strategies and seek input from their learners.

We are thrilled that 60 teachers joined us for the first full session via zoom to begin to understand these strategies. Provided with readings and a "to do" homework charge, we are already seeing teachers posting what they have tried in "WhatsApp." Mwalimu Geoff commented, "It has enabled students in my class to quickly and easily understand some concepts as explained to them in a language that they understand best by their fellow students. It has also made our lessons to be more engaging and interesting."

Thank you for supporting our teachers in Kenya through your donation.  We can offer these programs thanks to you!

Learning Together with CET!
Learning Together with CET!
Students Talking Together to Learn
Students Talking Together to Learn
Teachers Access Content via Their Smartphone!
Teachers Access Content via Their Smartphone!

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Building Towers!
Building Towers!

"Look at how tall my tower is?" says Mweni at Muthetheni PS.  Mweni and her friends are building spagetti towers as part of partner LevelUp Village's Storybook Engineer class.  These grade 1 and 2 students are learning how to collaborate together and critically think as a group in this hands-on activity that is designed to rescue the characters of the storybook that was read to them.  Future activities will include building bridges and boats. Complimenting the Kenyan competency-based curriculum, the LUV program helps build confidence and engage learners in hands-on activities in a creative way.  

While these students are building towers, other students are creating Heart Stories during the afterschool LitClub program.  After piloting the program last year in two schools, we have added four more schools to this LitWorld program.  The LitClub program is built around 7 strengths: Belonging, Curiosity, Friendship, Kindness, Confidence, Courage and Hope through hearing stories, creating artwork and telling their own story.  Teachers have been asking our staff, "What are you doing in this program? The students are so engaged in learning now and willing to ask questions in class!"

In our quest to become "The Village that Reads" and to nurture reading, our 3rd annual Reading Challenge was launched with some help from Garrison Forest School students who created colorful reading guides.  This year's theme is "Water" and the guides are filled with word games, fun facts and other activities surrounding water.  Students are challenged to read at least 25 books and the girl and boy who read the most books will be crowned King and Queen Readers.  Edith, our The School Fund Student who scored 10th overall nationally on the KCSE exam, has been part of the team issuing the Reading Guides to the students before she heads to University in October.  Sharing her story is motivating students to read and achieve in school.  The students flock to her and are excited when she is the intern handing them their guide.

All of these engaging enrichment activities are thanks to you!  Your past donation has provided funds to support our talented staff, provide resource materials and enable us to engage students with meaningful programs.  As a result, we are seeing students eager to learn, asking questions and being prepared to be leaders in life.

On Wednesday, July 14, Kenya Connect will be participating in GlobalGiving's July 14th Bonus Day campaign.  As our new LRC Annex is being built, our staff is dreaming of materials to help us reach more teachers, students and parents.  Will you wave your magic wand and help our dreams come true?  Donations of $100+ are eligible for matching funds from GlobalGivng AND the Kenya Connect Board is offering $7500 in matching funds.  Just think, a donation on July 14 will be matched in two ways!

Thank you for your past support.  Students at our 62 partner public schools are joyfully participating in a wide-array of learning activities thanks to you!

LitClub Heart Stories
LitClub Heart Stories
Your Name is Powerful LitClub Activity
Your Name is Powerful LitClub Activity
The 3rd Annual Reading Challenge has Launched
The 3rd Annual Reading Challenge has Launched
Edith Distributes Guides to Students
Edith Distributes Guides to Students

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Book Check Out!
Book Check Out!

Have you read a good book lately?  Kenya Connect library card holders sure have!  Our Magic School Bus and Reading Rover Truck have been visiting schools every other week bringing boxes loaded with books for check out.  As the students see the bus pull in, they cheer with excitement when it's their turn to return the books they have borrowed and to gather new ones.  Jackline, a student from Kaliambeau commented, "my favorite story books from the Kenya Connect library are the Magic Tree House stories. I also like doing STEM lessons and reading science subjects."  Our collection includes a range of books including early readers, chapter books, picture books, young adult fiction and knowledge based books for all levels in Kiswahili and English!  We have also included Kenyan curriculum revision books so students can continue their studies at home.

As we analyzed our students KCPE scores from the Primary School National exams, we saw a correlation of higher scores for students at our partner schools who participate in our library days program. We also saw that students who are part of our four Empowered Schools that include LitClubs, LevelUp Village classes, the Library Program and teacher professional development scored on average of 303 vs. students at other partner schools with an average of 268.  This continues a trend of seeing improved scores at schools that fully participate in our programs.

We are also beyond thrilled to announce that Edith, one of our The School Fund students was the top 10th scorer for the National Secondary School exam NATION WIDE!  In addition to receiving funding from KC's The School Fund program, Edith borrows books from our library, has participated in our mentor program and has received tutoring during school breaks. She is currently in the process of applying to university and serving as an intern with Kenya Connect.

These students are achieving because of donors like you who make our work possible.  Thanks to donations on GlobalGiving, we have expanded our library program to 25 of our partner schools. Your donation helps us purchase Kenyan authored and published books in English and Kiswahili.  These books are among our students' favorites. 

As Dr. Seuss said, "The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Thank you for helping provide the joy, wonder and knowledge of books and for paving the way for a lifetime of reading.

Jackline Loves to Read
Jackline Loves to Read
LitClub Circle of Hands Project
LitClub Circle of Hands Project
Edith Scored Top 10 on National KCSE Exam!
Edith Scored Top 10 on National KCSE Exam!
What Book Should I Choose?
What Book Should I Choose?
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Watering Moringa Trees
Watering Moringa Trees

Happy Earth Day!

Our community is tied to the earth.  Most families are subsistence farmers or woodcarvers and are dependent on weather patterns that bring rain on a regular basis. As a result of climate change, our community has experienced more droughts, locust invasions, and erratic weather in the last decade. We know it's important to prepare students to help mitigate these changes and to empower them with knowledge so they can care for the community through caring for the earth.

As we work with students, we are nurturing them to be Earth Champions through our various programs. Students at Ngangani Primary School are planting Moringa Trees to learn about the life cycle of trees and how to care for them.  Students water and till the soil and take measurements of growth. They learn about enriching the soil and the many benefits of growing trees. Other students participated in LevelUp Village's Water Discovery class and learned about the life cycle of water and the importance of clean water for life on earth. Empowering students through hands-on classes, interactive projects, and knowledge-based solutions are instrumental in creating Earth Champions!

This month we are piloting a special Lifelines program with Creative Connections with students from Miondoni Secondary School. Our students are learning with students at the John Wintrhrop School in Connecticut and the Instituto Nacional de Edcacion Diversificade in Guatemala about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they relate to the environment. Students are creating artwork to share with their partners on the environmental issues affecting their communities. Through this program they are working to come up with solutions to mitigate environmental challenges.  Students hearing about challenges around the globe help them to see that Climate Change is a worldwide problem.

Our new GiveLove composting toilets are also helping us "Keep Poop in the Loop" to create rich compost that can be used to plant trees and to enrich the soil for agricutlure. A special student booklet was created with GiveLove that will be distributed to students to teach them about how composting works and the value for the community. Students will also get to use new Kenya Connect microscopes to discover microbes, beetles and worms found in the compost. Just imagine how exciting it will be for them to see through a microscope for the first time!

Your donation to Kenya Connect is helping us to grow a community of Earth Champions through our enrichment programs and activities. Donations help us to provide microscopes, books, and magifying glasses for hands-on learning.  We couldn't do it without you.

As you celebrate Earth Day, know that your support of Kenya Connect is helping us to grow Earth Champions in Kenya! 

Learning about the Water Cycle
Learning about the Water Cycle
Books like the "Water Princess" teach students
Books like the "Water Princess" teach students
Miondoni students learning about Climate Change
Miondoni students learning about Climate Change
Discovering water in LUV's Water Discovery Class
Discovering water in LUV's Water Discovery Class
Keeping Poop in the Loop!
Keeping Poop in the Loop!
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Organization Information

Kenya Connect (KC)

Location: Wamunyu, Machakos - Kenya
Website:
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Twitter: @KenyaConnect
Project Leader:
James Musyoka
Wamunyu, Kenya
$205,174 raised of $250,000 goal
 
3,122 donations
$44,826 to go
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